It’s March 2020, and COVID has forced most Americans inside their homes. Morgan Bassichis is panicking at the prospect of not being able to access a piano.
The comedic performer and writer born in Newton, Mass., and based in New York City, wasted no time ordering a keyboard. Soon it provided the backing track for a series of short Instagram videos. Inspired by stories of quarantined Italians singing to one another from their balconies, Bassichis’ improvised “Quarantunes” ranged from melancholic songs reflecting the unease of social isolation to activism pieces advocating rent suspension and decarceration.
“I was thinking about singing to each other as any shred of comfort that we can be giving,” Bassichis said. “I’ve gotten a lot of feedback since. People say ‘Oh, those were really helpful to me in that moment.’”
“It’s always interesting for the Carpenter Center to be able to present artists when they’re at a real turning point in their practice so that students and our community can understand the creative process and vulnerability of trying something new in public, which can say a lot about an artist’s practice,” said Dan Byers, the John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Director at the Carpenter Center, who curated the exhibit. “It seemed like this was a good moment to offer Morgan this platform to bring together a number of existing works and to think about how they might display things like performance documentation, an album, and social media posts in an exhibition context.”